I bought this book last year when the author was in Glasgow for an event. As a longstanding fan of the Tom Thorne series, I happily settled myself down to enter into the dark world of his life once again.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
From “one of the most consistently entertaining, insightful crime writers working today” (Gillian Flynn), The Killing Habit again brings together favorite wild-card detective Tom Thorne and straight-laced DI Nicola Tanner on a pair of lethally high-stakes cases.
While DI Nicola Tanner investigates the deadly spread of a dangerous new drug, Tom Thorne is handed a case that he doesn’t take too seriously, until a spate of animal killings points to the work of a serial killer. When the two cases come together in a way that neither could have foreseen, both Thorne and Tanner must risk everything to catch two very different killers.
This is the 15th in the Tom Thorne series. Picking up a book in a long standing series, is sometimes a little like having a night out with the kind of friends you only see once in a while but when you meet up it always feels like you have never been apart. And that’s exactly what I get with this series.
The opening chapter of The Killing Habit firmly plants all the seeds required to keep me hooked, it left me with so many questions that I had to have answered that I read the book in almost one sitting.
A Killing Habit weaves two plots together to provide an expertly crafted novel and an immensely satisfying read. Thorne is reunited with Nicola Tanner in this story that sees them uncover a series of murders while hunting down a cat killer. The relationship between Thorne and Tanner is dynamite, they just bounce off each other creating a partnership that makes its way out of the pages and into the reader’s reality. Talking of relationships, Thorne continues to struggle in his with his partner, Helen. Her sister Jenny, doesn’t help matters much and it remains to be seen if they can overcome their difficulties and pull together or apart.
And of course the wonderful Phil Hendricks features in this book, now completely loved up with partner, Leam, Phil has turned over a new leaf, becoming a gym bunny and health fanatic. Yet I sense that the real Phil is still under there…
For those worried about animal cruelty after reading the blurb please don’t worry, there is nothing gratuitous or graphic in the novel. The cat killings mentioned are based on a real life case in London which at the time of writing, remain unsolved.
Although a slightly slower pace than some of the other novels, the compelling plot with its intricate little twists and turns means that the tension still ramps up as the truth is revealed. It kept me guessing until the end and paves the way perfectly for the next in the series.
Once again Mark Billingham does not disappoint.
The Killing Habit is available to purchase from: